MLB Odds, Best Bets: Our Top 4 Picks, Featuring Cubs vs. Dodgers, Red Sox vs. Yankees, More (Friday, June 25)
Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Javier Baez.
- The weekend is here, which gives us a chance to bet plenty of baseball.
- Our staff broke down four games in an effort to start the weekend out on the right foot, including Red Sox vs. Yankees, Rays vs. Angels, Braves vs. Reds, and Cubs vs Dodgers.
- Check out each pick below, complete with odds and a full breakdown.
The weekend is officially upon us, which means it’s time to bet wall-to-wall baseball uninterrupted.
The action kicks off tonight, and four of our writers have hand-picked best bets in an effort to start the weekend off on the right foot. It all starts with Red Sox vs. Yankees, Rays vs. Angels, and Braves vs. Reds at 7:10 p.m. ET before heading over to the West Coast for Cubs vs. Dodgers at 10:10 p.m. ET.
Check out both pick breakdowns, and use the table below to navigate to either game.
MLB Odds & Picks
Red Sox vs. Yankees
Kenny Ducey: While neither one of these pitchers blows you away, I think there’s a clear favorite — and that’s Domingo German.
The righty has been a liability at times (specifically over the past two starts), but he really hasn’t been that bad. His 5.2% walk rate is actually good, and he’s been exactly average in the hard contact and strikeout departments.
He’s proven capable of taking down this Red Sox lineup and has managed some of the more dangerous offenses in the sport.
Martin Perez, meanwhile, has not really had it this year — or in any year, as a matter of fact. His hard-hit rate has impossibly jumped up to a career-high, his strikeouts remain low, and his cutter remains as hittable as ever with a sinker up in the zone to go along with it. The Yankees just so happen to be a great sinker-hitting team even though they’ve had their struggles against lefties.
Speaking of, the vast majority of the players that should be written on the lineup card have great numbers against Perez in a limited sample, with the exception of Gleyber Torres.
On top of that, Gary Sanchez has homered in two straight games and over the past two weeks has woken up from a slump that must have lasted a year and a half. This lineup is rounding into form and can definitely go toe-to-toe with a dangerous Boston order. I see plenty of value in the Yankees as short road favorites.
Rays vs. Angels
Sean Zerillo: I rarely give out a total as my favorite bet of the day. I don’t enjoy sweating baseball totals whatsoever, and I don’t want to pass the pain onto anyone who might tail.
That said, unders in domed stadiums are typically undervalued, and I often find myself playing the under in Rays’ home games at Tropicana Field, which has been an extremely profitable under park (+$3,652 for a consistent $100 bettor, 6% ROI) on totals listed at 8.5 or higher since 2005.
It can often be challenging to project the Rays — both in the short-term and the long-term — due to their highly unorthodox usage and optimization of their pitching staff.
Tampa is rolling with a bullpen game on Friday night — led by Andrew Kittredge — and I projected the game total at 7.88 runs. I would bet the under 8.5 up to -111.
I considered a play on the first five innings or F5 under (listed 4.5, projected 4.21), but I can’t be sure how exactly the Rays will deploy their pitchers, so I’m sticking with the full-game wager.
Braves vs. Reds
Brad Cunningham: Drew Smyly hasn’t been great this season.
He’s posted an xERA and xFIP over 5, and his HR/9 rate is 2.19. Now, even though Smyly has struggled, this will actually be a somewhat decent matchup for him because the Reds do not hit lefties well, as they’re 20th in terms of wOBA and have only 90 wRC+.
Vladimir Gutierrez has not been great since making the jump to the big leagues. His xFIP is all the way up at 5.63, and he’s walking batters left and right, as his BB/9 rate is at 4.50.
He mainly uses a fastball, curveball, and slider combination, and all of those pitches have been pretty average. His fastball and curveball are allowing a wOBA over .310, while his slider has been his best pitch, giving up a wOBA of .256.
However, the Braves’ lineup has been crushing right-handed pitching this season to the tune of a .322 wOBA, and they have the second-most home runs against righties. They are also top-10 against both fastballs and curveballs, so it’s not a great matchup for Gutierrez.
Cincinnati has the worst bullpen ERA and LOB % in baseball as well and owns a higher BB/9 and HR/9 than the Braves bullpen.
I have Atlanta projected as -114 favorites tonight, so I think there’s a little bit of value on the Braves at +106.
Cubs vs. Dodgers
Jeff Hicks: Jake Arrieta is on the verge of getting yanked from the Cubs’ rotation.
The 35-year-old has a 9.00 ERA in June and 6.51 ERA in road starts in 2021. Arrieta has seen his slugging percentage against increase each month of the season from .433, to .487, to .603 heading into his final start of June.
The Dodgers are tied for the highest hard-hit percentage at home against right-handed pitching and have a top-10 wRC+ and slugging percentage. If Los Angeles can rebound after last night’s combined no-hitter, Arrieta will not be pitching deep.
He also has an 8.31 ERA the second time through lineups. Seeing the Dodgers bat around twice in five innings is more than plausible to help get to the over.
Tony Gonsolin, meanwhile, has had an interesting start to his 2021 campaign after missing the first two months.
He has 8.00 walks per nine innings in three starts (nine innings) and is a fly-ball pitcher — not a great combination against a team that has beaten LA in four straight. Additionally, all three earned runs allowed by Gonsolin have been with runners on base.
I expect the ball to fly with one pitcher on the tail-end of his career and the other playing with fire because of walks.
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